Basic Sections of a Proposal

In addition to specifying the needed allocation of resources to complete the project, proposals have three major sections:

  1. Introduction
  2. Literature Review (or Background)
  3. Procedure (or Methodology)
  4. Budget

The "Introduction" tells the reader 1) what your project is about, 2) why the project is worth doing, and 3) why your project is a good topic for fulfilling the objectives of the degree requirement. The Introduction must also state clearly and completely the specific objectives of your project -- in some detail, what you intend to accomplish. Though the reader encounters it first, you probably should write the "Introduction" last since you will need to have mastered the other parts of the proposal to provide an effective "Introduction." The "Literature Review" tells your audience (your advisors, off-campus sponsors, or sources of funding) what the state if the art in your topic is. You probably should tackle the "Literature Review" first since mastering it will give you the background you need to write other sections. The "Procedure" (also called Methodology) lays out the method you have selected to conduct your research. If you will be doing an IQP, the "Procedure" should emphasize how the particular interactions between science, technology, and society will be analyzed. If you will be doing an MQP, the "Procedure" should emphasize how your research will allow you to complete your project successfully.

A good Project proposal has an additional advantage; with appropriate revisions, the chapters in the proposal can give you a start on similar sections for the final report. Good work on the proposal has two advantages: planning for effective resource use when doing the project, and getting a jump ahead on the final report.

We suggest you write the three sections of the proposal in this logical sequence: Literature Review, Procedure, Introduction. These guidelines will thus follow that order. Other material which should go into the report, and will be discussed below, are the

  1. Abstract
  2. Title Page
  3. Table of Contents
  4. Footnotes
  5. Bibliography


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